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A Framework for Designing and Managing Flexibility and Real Options in Engineering Systems Based on Decision Rules

[+] Author Affiliations
Qihui Xie

PropertyGuru Pte. Ltd., Singapore, Singapore

Michel-Alexandre Cardin

National University of Singapore, Singapore, Singapore

Paper No. DETC2017-67042, pp. V007T06A013; 10 pages
  • ASME 2017 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 7: 29th International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology
  • Cleveland, Ohio, USA, August 6–9, 2017
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division, Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5821-9
  • Copyright © 2017 by ASME


This paper introduces a framework to design and manage flexibility in engineering systems based on the concept of decision rules. A decision rule can be described as a heuristic triggering mechanism that is used to determine when it is appropriate to exercise flexibility in systems operations. The proposed framework differs from existing real options analysis (ROA) approaches used in a design and management setting by focusing on the practicability in the implementation phase of engineering systems. By incorporating decision rules in the design process, this framework not only helps generate better performing designs, it also provides intuitive guidance for decision makers (DMs) to manage the system in operations. The proposed framework is applied as demonstration to the design and management of an anaerobic digestion (AD) waste-to-energy (WTE) plant. It demonstrates significant lifecycle performance improvement as compared to a standard design analysis. A comparison with existing ROA approaches shows that another advantage of the proposed framework is the ability to analyze systems facing multiple uncertainty sources and relying on multiple flexibility strategies as a way to improve expected lifecycle performance.

Copyright © 2017 by ASME



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